Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting
Wednesday — February 1, 2006
The Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting was held on Wednesday,
February 1, 2006, 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were President Wayne, Ms. Coleman, Ms. Hill, Mr. Lee, Ms. Lustgarten, Mr. Urban and Mr. Wagner. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Solicitor Scott, Borough Manager Forrest, Borough Engineer Bevilacqua, Borough Treasurer Smith, Borough Secretary Henry, Police Chief Kortan, Fire Chief Young, Code Enforcement Officer Travers and Planning Commission Chair Chris Patton.Minutes — Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve the minutes of the January 3-4, 2006 Reorganization Meeting. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously. Ms. Coleman moved to suspend the Rules of Order, seconded by Ms. Hill. The motion carried unanimously.
Joe Heath 55 W. Greenwood Avenue – Mr. Heath asked Borough Council to considerappointing a Borough historian. Mr. Heath stated that visibility at the Lansdowne and W. Greenwood Avenue intersectionis poor. He suggested either erecting a "no turn" sign or cutting down the hedge blockingvisibility.
Len Wert 221 N. Lansdowne Avenue – Dr. Wert expressed his concern about the continuingpoor condition of certain Borough properties. Dr. Wert asked if eminent domain could beconsidered if the Lansdowne Theater cannot be sold. President Wayne stated that the jointventure of the LEDC and GLCA continue to work on theater issues.
Dr. Wert questioned the abandoned car at 234 Owen Avenue. Chief Kortan stated that proceedings have begun for its removal.
Dr. Wert mentioned that visibility is poor at the intersection of Drexel and Shadeland
Avenues due to the day care parking situation. Chief Kortan will investigate.
David Gibson 101 E. Baltimore Avenue – Mr. Gibson asked Council to consider a resolution regarding the Pennsylvania Campaign to Bring Home the National Guard. He was joined in this request by Lansdowne residents Bertha Phillips, Patricia Gunn, Jennifer Beer and Dan Eldredge as well as Lori Pollock of Upper Darby and Sue Edward of Swarthmore.
Borough Council Response to Visitors: Mayor Young indicated the importance of the National Guard issue and asked Borough Council to consider some sort of action. Ms. Hill indicated that the idea of a Borough historian was an excellent suggestion and should be followed up with an appointment.
Mr. Urban moved to Reinstate the Rules of Order. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
REPORTS AND DISCUSSION
A. Treasurer William T. Smith – Mr. Smith stated that the Borough audit was inprogress. President Wayne mentioned the new Government accounting standards pronouncement regarding the reporting of pension funds and asked Mr. Smith to discuss this with the Finance Committee and report back to Borough Council.
B. Engineer Richard Bevilacqua – Mr. Bevilacqua reported that a pre-bid meeting for the Borough HVAC project was held on January 23 with 8 potential bidders. The closing date for bids will be February 7th. Mr. Bevilacqua stated that work will begin in early March on the Stewart Avenue Sewer Repair project.
C. Solicitor Bob Scott – Mr. Scott stated his items would be covered under New Business.
D. Manager David R. Forrest – Mr. Forrest gave updates on the following matters:
- RFP for Engineering Services – Proposals are due by February 17th and seven proposals have already been sent out.
- Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy – This is a $63,000 grant study being done with Yeadon Borough. 700 buildings have been evaluated to date. One public and two steering committee meetings have been held and the next steering committee meeting will be held on February 16th.
- Hoffman Park Stream Bank Restoration Project – A $14,000 grant has been received as well as a $6,000 in kind match. Work continues on insurance issues and an agreement may be available by the next Council meeting.
- 2006 Road Program – PECO is potentially replacing gas mains and services primarily in the areas of Maple, Bartram, Fairview and Nyack Avenues. A suggestion was made to piggyback on the milling and paving of Union Avenue and do the other half.
- Aqua America – Spring 2006 Main Replacement – Aqua American will be replacing water mains on Baltimore Avenue from Martin Drive to Clifton Heights, installing 2 new hydrants and working on Highland Avenue between Greenwood and Price and also on Price Avenue between Highland and Wycombe. Work is to begin in the Spring. Other areas included in the project are Union Avenue between Wycombe and Baltimore Avenues.
- ULI Breakfast – Mr. Forrest will be attending the Urban Land Institute breakfast on February 28th.
- Storm Water Grant – A tentative grant of $273,000 has been received by the EPA to take a look at the new Federal and State storm water regulations and explore community challenges inherent in this project. Talks are also planned with the William Penn Foundation to secure a $1.5 million grant.
- Gateway Park and Pedestrian/Bike Trail Grant – The Borough received a $14,000 grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to develop a design for a Gateway Park/bike trail along Scottdale Road at Hoffman Park.
- Borough Yard Improvements – Work started January 24th. This is a $32,000 project.
- Reservoir Park Fence – A pre-construction meeting was held on January 24th and work continues on firming up a start up date with the contractor.
- Interboro Park Bid – Bids are due 9:30 a.m. on February 3rd.
Mr. Wagner questioned the benefit of working with PECO on the 2006 Road Program.Mr.Forrest indicated that the Borough would bear only half the cost for paving the roads on which PECO has previously been working.
Ms. Hill asked if any improvement were to be done to the outside of the Borough Yard building. Mr. Forrest indicated that all improvements would be internal. Ms. Hill asked if the same procedures will be used to determine the street paving for 2006. President Wayne stated that recommendations will be forthcoming from Mr. Bevilacqua and Mr. Forrest for Council’s action.
E. Police Chief Kortan – Chief Kortan had no formal report.
F. Fire Chief Tom Young – Chief Young stated that he recently attended Channel 6′s "Save A Life" program and currently had 100 smoke detectors available for any resident in need of one.
G. Planning Commission Chair Chris Patton – Mr. Patton stated he was looking forward to working with Borough Council on the revitalization projects and indicated that good communication was key to fulfilling the Master Plan changes for growth in the Borough.
H. Council Members and Mayor
- Mayor – Mayor Young mentioned that the Borough will be re-certified as a No Place for Hate community at the February 17th event. Mayor Young asked if a letter could be sent to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia regarding keeping St. Philomena school open. The consensus was to send a letter. Mayor Young asked if an ordinance could be drafted regarding not feeding squirrels due to a stray cat problem. Mayor Young asked for a list of current crossing guard locations to see if any additional locations should be covered. Mayor Young indicated she had received e-mails regarding (1) recycling containers, (2) sheriff sale information, (3) Christmas tree pickup, (4) vacant properties, and (5) a tenants rights association. Mayor Young mentioned that the Masons clock will be installed some time in spring. Finance Committee Chair – Ms. Lustgarten had no formal report but indicated that the next Finance Committee meeting will be held on February 6th at 7:00 pm. New members are Mr. Lee and Ms. Coleman.
- Public Safety Committee Chair – Ms. Hill mentioned that the next Public Safety Committee meeting will be held on February 8th at 7:30 pm. New members are Joe Urban, Steve Wagner, Fire Chief Young and Chief Kortan. In addition, Mayor Young will be a voting member of this Committee.
- Recreation and Parks Liaison – Board liaison Mr. Urban stated that the next Recreation and Parks Board meeting will be held February 21st at 7:30 pm.
- Other Council Members – Mr. Lee asked Borough Council to consider renaming Interboro Park the "Coretta Scott King" park. Mr. Lee mentioned that work is continuing on the non-discriminatory policy and the domestic partner registry. Mr. Lee mentioned the possible formation of an Ad Hoc committee to investigate a beautification program for the Borough regarding various issues such as recycling, better fuel emissions for Borough operated vehicles, etc. Ms. Coleman stated she had spoken with a variety of business owners in town regarding their needs and she will also be talking with the Main Street manager. Mr. Wagner indicated he had also spoken with various business owners and one recurring suggestion was to leave the Christmas lights on all year. Mr. Forrest will look into the electrical costs. President Wayne had no formal report but mentioned that 205 W. Baltimore Avenue was being approved for a pet grooming business. Also, properties on Dudley Avenue are to be subdivided.
Old Business — LEDC/GLCA joint Venture Proposal for 20th Century Club. President Wayne asked if the priorities should proceed as recommended in the report and if the joint venture group should be approved to carry out the construction project. Matt Schultz gave an overview of the partnership (joint venture) wherein a $1.5 million grant had been received for renovations to the 20th century club. Mr. Schultz indicated that $360,000 can be used for actual construction and $22,000 to do construction drawings. He mentioned that Borough Council approval was needed as soon as possible. Mr. Lee indicated that air conditioning was a priority. Ms. Coleman asked for an estimate of urgent costs. Mr. Schultz indicated a range from $365,000 to $400,000. Ms. Hill brought up the possibility of emergency lighting in the basement and a sprinkler system in the library. Chief Young stated that the new burglar/fire alarm system would handle these needs. Gerry Staiber indicated that the recommendations in the report are what the building really needs but asked if the $150,000 needed for air conditioning could be borrowed to do the installation work over the summer while the building is being renovated. This matter will be referred to the Finance Committee. After further discussion, consensus was reached to approve the report and have the joint venture carry out the construction project. Solicitor Scott will draft the appropriate resolution.
- Planning Commission – The Planning Commission will be working on a number of issues: (a) establishing a local historic district and historical architectural review board, (b) recommending a demolition delay ordinance, and (c) establishing guidelines regarding conversion of single family homes into multi-family dwellings. Ms. Hill expressed resident concerns over 6-7 homes on Bartram Avenue becoming rental properties. The Planning Commission will investigate this matter. President Wayne suggested that the Planning Commission also look at zoning variance and special exception requirements and the relationship between design standards being promulgated by the Main Street Program and Borough property and sign codes.
- Property Maintenance Enforcement – Ordinance 1211 will clarify the Borough’s authority to conduct property transfer inspections. Mr. Forrest mentioned that Ordinance 1210 regarding Property Maintenance Codes now includes a change regarding heating requirements for rental properties (65 degrees minimum from November 1st through April 1st). Ms. Hill expressed concern for the elderly and ill with this level of heat. After further discussion Mr. Forrest clarified that the ordinance protects renters from landlords who may not be providing adequate heat and now must maintain the 65 degree minimum. Mr. Forrest mentioned that residents can now question a code violation citation by going through an Appeals Board.
There arose the question of enforcing a policy regarding cracked sidewalks and vegetation overgrowth when there is no transfer of property. After discussion it was the consensus to have Solicitor Scott and Code Officer Travers come up with a plan regarding periodic inspections and targeting the worst offenders.
- Code Enforcement Department – The discussion centered on the relationship with Yeadon and Code Officer replacement. Mr. Forrest indicated that the Borough needs another code officer immediately if not conjoining with Yeadon. President Wayne suggested appointing an Ad Hoc Committee to start the recruitment process and give a final report within 30 days regarding developing recommendations for a Yeadon partnership, if desired, and what the expectations are for Lansdowne’s codes department. Mr. Lee will chair this committee and other members will include Mr. Wagner and Mr. Urban. A preliminary report is due on February 15th and final report on March 1st.
- Problem Properties – 231 N. Lansdowne Avenue is scheduled for upset sale on September, 2006 and the application of demolition has been submitted. Mr. Scott mentioned that there is a potential buyer and suggested having a meeting with him regarding the extent of renovations that would be necessary.
234 Owen Avenue – the owner will demolish and put up new buildings. Mr. Lee stated that a citation for property maintenance issues should be issued if cleanup is not performed by February 6th.
- Acquisition of 132 Bartram Avenue – A check for $1.00 has been cut and pertinent paper work has been received by the County.
- Solid Waste Collection – Mr. Forrest mentioned that the trash trucks need replacing at a cost of $130,000 per vehicle. President Wayne suggested deferring any purchase until a decision is reached about the collection process. An Ad Hoc committee consisting of Ms. Coleman as Chair, Ms. Lustgarten, Mr. Wagner and Mayor Young will be formed to develop recommendations on this issue.
- Park Boundary Issues – a) Interboro Park: Bids will be open on February 7th for western end improvements. A discussion followed regarding encroachment issues with Mr. Scott suggested dealing with them on a piecemeal basis while providing reasonable inducements.
b) Gateway park: a discussion ensued regarding the removal of storage sheds now presenting a potential safety hazard. Mr. Scott mentioned that the Borough policy on adverse possession is nebulous and may pose the risk of antagonizing residents if asserted. After further discussion there arose a consensus to have Mr. Scott and Mr. Forrest develop reasonable inducements for the Gateway Park as well.
- Items 8 and 9 were removed from the agenda.
- Items 8 and 9 were removed from the agenda.
- Reinventing Older Communities Conference – President Wayne and Mr. Forrest will be attending this conference at a cost of $275 per person. The conference is scheduled for April 5, 6 and 7, 2006.
Ms. Hill moved to have Mayor Young explore the possibility of naming a Boroughhistorian. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to authorize payment of bills for the period. Mr. Wagner seconded and the motion carried unanimously. Ms. Lustgarten questioned a duplicate payment and Mr. Forrest will correct it.
- Mr. Lee moved to advertise Ordinance 1210, An Ordinance of the Borough of Lansdowne Amending the 2005 Borough of Lansdowne Property Maintenance Code. Ms. Coleman seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.
- Ms. Coleman moved to advertise Ordinance No. 1211, an Ordinance of the Borough of Lansdowne Establishing and Adopting a Revised Property Transfer Inspection Program. Mr. Lee seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.
Executive Session — Ms. Coleman moved to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned to Executive Session at 10:28 pm.
Upon reconvening to Public Session, no motions were made. Ms. Hill moved to adjourn themeeting, seconded by Mr. Lee. The meeting adjourned at 11:10 p.m.
Barbara Ann Henry